The Public Eye: Berkeley Bowl’s New Union-Busting Campaign

By Zelda Bronstein
Tuesday June 22, 2010 - 09:55:00 AM

Six years ago federal officials forced the owners of the Berkeley Bowl to accept a union at their Oregon Street store. In 2003, 70% of the employees had voted not to unionize. After the United Food and Commercial Workers Union protested to the National Labor Relations Board, the NLRB—George Bush’s NLRB, mind you—found that the employer’s alleged unfair labor practices were so “pervasive and serious” that a fair election was impossible and ordered the Bowl to bargain with the union. The result was a contract that store employees ratified in August 2005 by a vote of 117-12. The union contract brought Bowl workers new benefits: previously workers had been fired at will; today they have a formal grievance procedure, as well as guaranteed paid vacations and health insurance for all employees. Now these gains are threatened by the Bowl owners’ new anti-union campaign. -more-

Blogbeat: Frankenfuels and Oakland Docks Protest
stuff of local interest to check out on the net

By Thomas Lord
Monday June 21, 2010 - 05:17:00 PM

This week’s items:Local blogs about a successful effort to delay the unloading of an Israeli ship at the Oakland docks;BP’s money at work – genetic engineering for alternative fuels in Berkeley. Israeli Ship Unloading Delayed by Picket Line -more-

The Public Eye:Buy It Now! Meg Whitman’s California Campaign

By Bob Burnett
Saturday June 19, 2010 - 05:15:00 PM

While California teeters on the edge of bankruptcy, the Golden State will feature the nation’s most expensive gubernatorial race between former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and Attorney General Jerry Brown. Will desperate Californians be beguil California has a $20 billion budget shortfall and its bond rating has been downrated to below that of Kazakhstan. As usual, the governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the legislature can’t agree what to do. California’s unemployment rate is 11 percent and recent budget cuts have caused sharp curtailments in state services ranging from layoffs of public safety employees to diminution of highway maintenance. -more-

The Fraud of Environmental "Protection"

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday June 17, 2010 - 09:08:00 AM

Folks with a modicum of common sense have good reason to worry about oil spills and toxic waste sites. The former can pollute vast regions of sensitive wildlife and human habitat, while the latter pose more focused threats. -more-

Dispatches From The Edge: Turkey, the U.S, and Empire’s Twilight

By Conn Hallinan
Tuesday June 22, 2010 - 01:45:00 PM

When U.S. forces found themselves beset by a growing insurgency in Iraq following their lighting overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the most obvious parallel that came to mind was Vietnam: an occupying army, far from home, besieged by a shadowy foe. But Patrick Cockburn, the Independent’s (UK) ace Middle East reporter, suggested that the escalating chaos was more like the Boer War than the conflict in Southeast Asia. It was a parallel that went past most Americans, very few of whom know anything about the short, savage turn of the century war between Dutch settlers and the British Empire in South Africa. But the analogy explains a great deal about the growing influence of a country like Turkey, and why Washington, despite its military power and economic clout, can no longer dominate regional and global politics. -more-

Dispatches From The Edge: Crazy Talk in the Middle East

By Conn Hallinan
Tuesday June 22, 2010 - 10:06:00 AM

Trying to track—let alone make sense—of recent developments around Iran is enough to make one reach for that stuff they just found lots of in Afghanistan: lithium. While the element is essential for a host of electronics, it is also a standard treatment for bipolar behavior. -more-

“What’s this ‘Senior Power’ business?” & Fun in Spanish: Columna de alimentación de Senior

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Saturday June 19, 2010 - 06:03:00 PM

“Seriously,” I’m asked, “what’s this ‘Senior Power’ business? You don’t really believe it, do you?Basically, the real senior thing is like uh senior bowl and senior class in senior high school, and senior chief petty officer and such. Actually. Duh.” -more-

Wild Neighbors: Local Spider Makes Good

By Joe Eaton
Tuesday June 22, 2010 - 10:09:00 AM

A couple of weeks ago, Ron and I went to the Bone Room to hear UC-Berkeley entomologist Rosemary Gillespie discuss her research on the spiders of the Hawai’ian Islands. (Check out The Bone Room Presentsfor future events.) -more-

Restoration Comedy:Nail Salon

By Jane Powell
Monday June 21, 2010 - 11:13:00 PM

Today I decided it would be easier to strip the remaining trim in my kitchen if I pried it off first, since paint insisted on remaining in the cracks between the various pieces, and responded neither to sanding, scraping, heat gunning, or paint remover. -more-